UAE 'taking action' to maintain nuclear security
The United Arab Emirates is "taking action" to maintain nuclear security, its envoy to the atomic watchdog said on Tuesday after a reported UAE crackdown on Iranian firms dealing in dangerous materials.
The UAE was "taking action to ensure that nuclear security is maintained and also countering any potential threats that would be utilised for any non-peaceful purposes," said Hamad al-Kaabi, the ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"As a result of the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, the UAE forces have stopped activities that fall under banned activities under these international instruments," Kaabi told reporters after a two-day meeting of members of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).
About a week ago, the vice-president of the Iranian Business Council in Dubai, Morteza Masoumzadeh, told AFP that Iranian trade in the Gulf state "are observing a very strict application of the UN sanctions against Iran."
However, the Emirati ambassador insisted that Iranian shipments were not the only ones targeted.
"There were multiple shipments held to multiple destinations, so it's not one shipment going to one country or another," he said.
Last week, Gulf News quoted an unnamed UAE official as saying the emirate has closed down 40 international and local firms as part of a crackdown on companies that violate UN sanctions on Iran.
These companies have been dealing in "dual-use and dangerous materials banned under UN resolutions and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty," the official said.
"What we do on export control is being affected by our policy but also an implementation of the international obligation that the UAE is obligated to... the UN Security Council resolutions in this regard," Kaabi said.
On June 9, the UN Security Council slapped a fourth round of sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear drive, this time tightening the noose on military and financial transactions.
The resolution bans the sale to Iran of eight new types of heavy weapons and applies new restrictions on Iranian investments abroad.
Earlier this year, the UAE and the United States signed an agreement for "the installation of equipment at the ports in the UAE for the detection of nuclear materials transferring through the ports," he added.
GCINT, whose activities are observed by the IAEA, was launched in July 2006 by the United States and Russia and has become a partnership of 81 nations.
Among its principles, GCINT calls for "denying safe haven and financial resources to potential nuclear terrorists" and "strenghthening national legal and regulatory frameworks against nuclear terrorism."
Its next annual plenary meeting will be held in Seoul, in South Korea. Meanwhile, Spain will act as the coordinator of the Implementation and Assessment Group activated during Abu Dhabi's meeting.
© 2010 AFP